Our Team

Our Team of Dance Instructors


Sunshine's Dance & Cheer Studio has recruited some of the Bay Area's most accomplished and talented dance instructors, each of whom brings their own personal approach to the dance floor. See below who they are:

Samantha Gaskin
Founder/Instructor

Originally from Houston, Texas Samantha Gaskin has a joy and passion for all forms of dance. This love for dance has blossomed through her study, choreography, and performance of dance for more than 26 years. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop styles of dance all over the Bay Area. Samantha has been dancing since the age of 5 years old and hasn’t stopped since. During high school Samantha studied dance on a recreational level and had the opportunity to perform as a member of the Willowridge dance team in Missouri City, Texas.

While in college Samantha was a member of the cheerleading team and performed in shows collaborating jazz, hip-hop and contemporary for local R&B and hip hop artist. Samantha performed for many years on the competition team at Dance 10 Performing Arts Studio in Alameda, California under the direction of Pam Drake.

In 1999, Samantha made the prestigious Oakland Raiderette Cheerleading team where she performed for 3 seasons under the direction of Karen Kovac. In, her second season as a Raiderette Samantha was selected to perform on a special caberet variety show team for the Raiderettes where she performed at special corporate and charity events. In her final season cheering for the Oakland Raiders, Samantha was selected to represent the team in Bosnia and Kosovo to entertain for the troops overseas.

From 2008-2010 Samantha served as head coach for the San Ramon Valley High School Freshmen cheerleading team. As coach she led her team to first place in several local competitions.

Samantha has 10 years of experience teaching dance and cheerleading to young children at different bay area elementary schools, high schools, recreation centers and dance studios giving her a wide spectrum of experience. Samantha’s passion for dance and her love of children is evident in her teaching style. She both inspires and nurtures all of her students. Samantha’s goal is to provide a fun, exciting, and inspiring atmosphere for her students. She aspires to share her love for dance and allow all of her students to acquire the same love.

Miss Maya Denise 
Tap/Hip Hop Instructor

Maya Denise has been dancing since the age of two, and has technical training in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, pom, contemporary, and ballet folklorico. She was apart of the Golden State Warriors Jr Jam Squad, received a scholarship to the American Dance Training Camp 2016, and was also the recipient of NUVO’s Teen Hip Hop StandOut Scholarship to attend the Dancerpalooza intensive. During her two years of dancing with the Jr jam Squad, Maya Denise, performanced with Aloe Blacc and Montell Jordan, she also Participated in the 2015 NBA Championship Parade Celebration and received a championship ring. Her Tap solo placed 1st place overall in the age category at Spotlight Dance competition and Placed 2nd at Bravo Dance competition in small group Hip Hop division Maya Denise Played Claire in Sunshine Dance & Cheer studios rendition of The Nutcracker. She currently is on California High Schools Varsity song team, and performs at all of the varsity football, and basketball games. Maya Denise is an active cadette girl scout and serves as Miss Contra Costa County's Outstanding Teen. Currently attending California High School she hopes to use all the skills that she has learned from working at SDC to receive a scholarship to Spelman College.Maya Denise has been dancing since the age of two, and has technical training in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, pom, contemporary, and ballet folklorico. She was apart of the Golden State Warriors Jr Jam Squad, received a scholarship to the American Dance Training Camp 2016, and was also the recipient of NUVO’s Teen Hip Hop StandOut Scholarship to attend the Dancerpalooza intensive. During her two years of dancing with the Jr jam Squad, Maya Denise, performanced with Aloe Blacc and Montell Jordan, she also Participated in the 2015 NBA Championship Parade Celebration and received a championship ring. Her Tap solo placed 1st place overall in the age category at Spotlight Dance competition and Placed 2nd at Bravo Dance competition in small group Hip Hop division Maya Denise Played Claire in Sunshine Dance & Cheer studios rendition of The Nutcracker. She currently is on California High Schools Varsity song team, and performs at all of the varsity football, and basketball games. Maya Denise is an active cadette girl scout and serves as Miss Contra Costa County's Outstanding Teen 2017, Miss Central California OT 2018, and Miss Los Angeles OT 2019 . Currently attending California High School she hopes to use all the skills that she has learned from working at SDC to receive a scholarship to Spelman College.  

Miss Mimi Rana 

                                      Ballet/Jazz Instructor

Mimi’s love of dance started at the young age of 5. She since has 15 years studio trained in the disciplines of Jazz, Tap, Modern, Lyrical, Ballet, Acro, and Hip Hop built her foundation in dance at Joanne Brown Dance Studio and Yoko’s Dance Academy. She attributes her energetic styles and choreography skills to many years as the in the squad of her high school Cheer team.. After graduated from Ohlone College with Associate Degree in Marketing and Dance. Also graduated California State University, East Bay, with Major Early Childhood Development. Her professional credits includes Los Angeles Clippers(2008), Semi pro Dance Team Bomshells Girls and Liberty Belles, Half time show Santa Cruz Warriors, and Mission in the Mix of the South Bay.Mimi’s love of dance started at the young age of 5. She since has 15 years studio trained in the disciplines of Jazz, Tap, Modern, Lyrical, Ballet, Acro, and Hip Hop built her foundation in dance at Joanne Brown Dance Studio and Yoko’s Dance Academy. She attributes her energetic styles and choreography skills to many years as the in the squad of her high school Cheer team.. After graduated from Ohlone College with Associate Degree in Marketing and Dance. Also graduated California State University, East Bay, with Major Early Childhood Development. Her professional credits includes Los Angeles Clippers(2008), Semi pro Dance Team Bomshells Girls and Liberty Belles, Half time show Santa Cruz Warriors, and Mission in the Mix of the South Bay. 


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Abby Unpingco

Dance Instructor 

Abby Unpingco and has been dancing her entire life. Abby's been in love with this art form as long as I can remember. She loves sharing her love of dance with others and is beyond excited to teach students of all ages. She is the Captain of her schools dance team. And has a passion for musical theatre and is very involved in the drama department. Abby is eager to share that passion with the next group of future superstars.


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Shelby Holton

Dance Instructor

Shelby began dancing at the age of 8 years old. By the age of 16, she was creating award winning competition choreography. Her training includes a variety of dance styles, such as hip hop, tap, jazz, contemporary, ballet and lyrical. Shelby has performed with The Warriors Dance Team, The Raiderettes, and danced as a troupe member in Culture Shock Hip Hop troupe. She is also a Dupree Dance Scholarship recipient, and held the title of Miss Teen I Love Dance in 2012.